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What Are You Concentrating On?

The following is an answer to a question from a student after the U.S. Open. He noticed that a lot of the top shooters had the gun “mounted and their face down” for a lot longer than he did or longer than he felt we taught.

They understand the picture and where their eyes must be, which is always behind the gun. And they have tried to check the lead enough times that they know exactly just how much focus they can give the barrel and still break the target. You must seek your own level and answers as to how it is supposed to look.

After seeing our animations, Scott Robertson said to me that we were giving shooters all over the world the “answers to the test and the pictures that it took us as competitors 25 years to learn.”

The shooters you speak of are not looking down the gun, but are looking behind the gun with both eyes focused on the target away from the gun. This gives them the ability to visualize what they are about to do and then execute it.

We are finding that the clearer you are to your brain what you’re asking it to do, the better and more quickly it will respond, and the sooner the brain will begin the suppression of any confusing or non-pertinent visual data. This allows your focus to ascend to higher and higher levels which is why you can’t do what they do. Stop trying to do it!

I just got an email from a student who said he finally shot a whole tournament without trying to break any targets. He just made the plan and shot the plan, trusting the routine and his right brain to break the targets.

This student was a runner-up in the main and had the top score on the main course on the second day. He was second in FITASC and second in the prelim. There were a lot of firsts for him.

He found he could not shoot 200 targets back-to-back and maintain focus. He left 10 to 12 targets on the main that normally he should not miss. One of his best lessons was what happened to him when he got fatigued 2/3rds of the way through the second 200 targets. He found it hard to turn it off between stands and found he tended to watch other people’s targets.

By the way, the reason shooters throw their shells is that they checked it just a little too much and still missed. No one likes to prove themselves stupid in front of others, especially when they are paying for the privilege.

You are still trying to break the targets. Imagine for a minute that when you walked, you thought about what your feet were doing as much as you thought about what your gun is doing. I have a smile on my face just thinking about that.

In fact, do it. You will see how awkward it will be and feel. The reason is that the side of the brain you are trying to use doesn’t have the bandwidth to process all the circuits necessary to do the function of walking.

The same is true for the action of shooting moving targets. The circuits required to walk and to hit a moving target have as many as 300,000 to 500,000 parts. The brain you are trying to use can only process 40…

One other observation: you equate head on the stock based on what you do. I will suggest to you that the shooters you see understand and look at the face on stock entirely differently. They may have the gun up but not in the final position until just before they shoot. At least that is what I have seen and can vouch for. Let me know what you think about what I have said.

You are still too involved with the gun. Just like roping a calf, it’s not about throwing the rope; it is about balance in the saddle. And walking is not about your feet. It, too, is about balance.

You must give up trying to be perfect with the gun. I’m excited to see how you deal with this. Let me know.